Sun, Mar 24, 2002 - Page 3 News List

KMT presents draft intelligence law

LEGISLATIVE OVERSIGHT The proposals provide for the creation of a committee to monitor intelligence agencies and requires lawmakers to keep state secrets for life

STAFF WRITER

The KMT's legislative caucus yesterday presented its draft of legislation that would regulate intelligence agencies within the Legislative Yuan.

The national-intelligence supervision bill (國家情報監督法) provides for the establishment of an intelligence supervision committee in the legislature and would prohibit lawmakers from divulging anything they learnt from sitting on the committing for the rest of their lives.

According to the draft law, the committee would oversee resolutions made in the National Security Council (NSC, 國家安全會議) and the intelligence-gathering activities of the National Security Bureau (NSB, 國安局). The NSC secretary-general and the NSB director would be required to report regularly to the committee.

The KMT version of the draft law was submitted by lawmakers Lee Chia-chin (李嘉進), Sung Kauo-hwa (孫國華), Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順) and Lin Yi-shih (林益世).

Intelligence activities have to be regulated by law and appropriately supervised, the lawmakers said, otherwise the intelligence agencies would become subject to abuses of power and malpractice.

As well as the NSC and NSB, intelligence agencies defined in the draft law include the Coast Guard Administration (海巡署), the National Police Administration (警政署) and the Investigation Bureau (調查局) under the Ministry of Justice.

The draft requires intelligence personnel to remain politically neutral. It prohibits them from joining political parties, running in elections for public office and helping with election campaigns.

This stipulation appears designed to address a dispute during the legislative elections last year in which intelligence agencies reportedly leaked classified election-related information to the DPP headquarters.

The draft says that the intelligence supervision committee, on which 17 lawmakers will sit, should meet privately.

Lee said that the legislature's Budget Committee had previously invited Secretary-General to the President Chen Shih-meng (陳師孟), NSC Secretary-General Chiou I-jen (邱義仁) and NSB Director Tsai Chao-ming (蔡朝明) to attend its meetings, but that they turned down the invitation under various pretexts. Lee argued that their ignorance of the legislature's rights had sabotaged national security and the supervision of intelligence agencies.

As a result, Lee said, they hoped the draft bill would be passed as soon as possible to establish the legislature's supervisory mechanism over national-intelligence agencies.

Despite unanimous agreement from all legislative caucuses that such a committee should be formed, lawmakers disagreed over the details.

DPP lawmaker Lee Wen-chung (李文忠) suggested that committee members who leak classified information be expelled from the body and referred to the legislature's Discipline Committee for punishment.

In the version presented by PFP lawmaker Liu Wen-hsiung (劉文雄), the status of lawmakers on the committee could be recalled with the consent of the legislature. Related statutes can be cited to charge them with leaking state secrets, according to Liu's version.

There were also disagreements over how long lawmakers would be required to keep classified information to themselves.

Both the KMT and DPP versions state that lawmakers must not divulge secrets before the classified documents are released into the public domain.

While the PFP version does not specifically stipulate how long lawmakers are required to keep information secret, it states that lawmakers and their assistants should get approval to leave the country within five years after they leave the current positions.

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